Nico Rosberg has gone quickest in today’s first practice session for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix. Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton made it another 1-2 on the timesheets, with Fernando Alonso third-quickest in his Ferrari.

The first session of on-track running was interrupted for some time after Felipe Massa suffered a sizable accident, but Rosberg came through it all to finish almost three-quarters of a second clear of the rest of the field.

Rosberg’s quickest lap came with about thirty minutes left in the session. In the end, he posted a 1:35.424 lap time that proved to be 0.731 seconds faster than anything Hamilton was able to deliver. That being said, Hamilton did back off towards the end of what was clearly going to be his fastest lap, suggesting that he still has plenty of pace in hand.

Fernando Alonso narrowly led the ‘best of the rest’ charge in his Ferrari, fractionally outpacing the Red Bull Racing Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who celebrated his 25th birthday earlier in the week. The Australian was in a Ferrari sandwich on the timing monitors, with Kimi Räikkönen finishing fifth-quickest ahead of yesterday’s birthday boy Sebastian Vettel.

The McLaren and Toro Rosso drivers rounded out the top ten positions. Jenson Button was resplendent in a bright pink helmet in tribute to his late father, posting the seventh-fastest time ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Éric Vergne.

The session saw four test or reserve drivers in action. Force India’s Daniel Juncadella led that scrap with the fourteenth-fastest time, three-tenths of a second down on regular driver Sergio Pérez. Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde was just one spot behind in a solid showing for the Swiss team, while compatriot Robin Frijns was 20th-fastest in Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham.

Williams failed to feature higher up the timesheets after a troubled session. After much PR hype surrounding the fact that she was the first woman to participate at a Grand Prix since 1992, test driver Susie Wolff saw her first FP1 outing cut short after just four laps when her FW36 developed an oil pressure problem.

Felipe Massa

Massa destroyed his Williams

Last fortnight’s pole-sitter Felipe Massa had a rather more dramatic exit from the session: the Brazilian took far too much kerb on the exit of Stowe and unsettled his Williams enough for him to be spat into the barriers. Both ends of his car copped significant damage, which is likely to ruin his planned programme of running this afternoon, assuming his car can actually be repaired on time for any meaningful running.

Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson was the only other driver to register a significant incident. The Caterham driver spun at Becketts, beaching his car on the grass and bringing a gremlin-plagued session to a merciful early conclusion.

Pastor Maldonado failed to set a time after his Lotus ground to a halt in the pit lane early in the session.

Friday’s second practice session at Silverstone gets underway at 2:00pm local time (GMT +1).

2014 British Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results:

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:35.424 25
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:36.155 + 0.731 22
3. Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari F14T 1:36.263 + 0.839 23
4. Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:36.623 + 1.199 21
5. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari F14T 1:36.703 + 1.279 23
6. Sebastian Vettel Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:36.921 + 1.497 20
7. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:36.963 + 1.539 25
8. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:37.175 + 1.751 29
9. Jean-Éric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:37.227 + 1.803 25
10. Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:37.231 + 1.807 30
11. Sergio Pérez Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:37.720 + 2.296 22
12. Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 1:37.910 + 2.486 21
13. Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:38.056 + 2.632 18
14. Daniel Juncadella Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:38.083 + 2.659 23
15. Giedo van der Garde nl Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:38.328 + 2.904 19
16. Jules Bianchi Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:38.917 + 3.493 12
17. Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:39.461 + 4.037 7
18. Max Chilton Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:39.814 + 4.390 24
19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:40.597 + 5.173 19
20. Robin Frijns nl Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:42.261 + 6.837 11
21. Susie Wolff Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:44.212 + 8.788 4
22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 no time 2

Images via FOM and Sutton Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.